Print Story PS4 musing, part 1
Games
By dark ally (Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:11:30 AM EST) Playstation, XBox, Wii, predictions (all tags)
This is part 1 of a series on my thoughts regarding the next game console from Sony, i.e. the Playstation 4.

I hereby release all rights to the following ideas.


The PS3 is in 3rd place because it was (and still is) more expensive than the Wii & Xbox 360 and it was released a year after it's direct competition (Xbox 360).  This has trapped it in a vicious cycle where people won't buy it because of cost & smaller library and developers won't create games (especially exclusives) because of the smaller user population.  In order to succeed, the PS4 must be cost competitive with the Xbox 720 and be released for the same Christmas season (and be available - no shortages).

Therefore, anything which adds cost or development time (HW & SW) must be dropped.

The first thing to go is backwards compatibility (including software emulation).  This means Sony can start with a clean slate from a hardware & controller perspective, which is far more valuable than any hypothetical sales they may get by supporting old games.

There should also be two models:
$300 - $200 with a DVD drive and a 1GB SSD
$500 - $400 with a Blu-Ray drive and a 100+GB HD

Yep, drop the Blu-Ray as a standard feature.  Again, one of the problems with the PS3 is the cost of the system, partly due to the Blu-Ray drive.  And although some people (myself included) may have bought a PS3 because it was less expensive than a Blu-Ray player, this is no longer the case.  Sony also no longer needs to use the Playstation to push the Blu-Ray format.  And although the cost of Blu-Ray has gone down, going with DVD will reduce costs even further.

Heck, to further reduce costs, don't include DVD movie playback in the budget model (like the Wii).  This will reduce licensing costs.  The Blu-Ray model could also include the capability of playing back other video codecs (which the budget model wouldn't include again to reduce licensing costs).

And, as seen with the Xbox 360, there's money to be made in upgrades and add-ons.   (Especially with proprietary connectors instead of standard SATA.)

But other than the drives, the two models should be identical with the same ports as the PS3.  (Although maybe put in a Memory Stick slot instead of one of the USB ports, and give the USB port power even when the system is off.)  Also stick with the internal PSU instead of a brick.

In my next entry, I'll cover the controller before diving into the CPU & GPU guts.
 

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PS4 musing, part 1 | 26 comments (26 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
You know by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #1 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:32:20 AM EST
I'd could get in massive legal trouble just answering this, so I won't.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
Indeed by codemonkey uk (2.00 / 0) #19 Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 04:20:05 AM EST
/staying out of this conversation...

--- Thad ---
Almost as Smart As you.
[ Parent ]
no NDA means I know nothing by dark ally (2.00 / 0) #21 Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:40:39 AM EST
But if Sony wants to educate me, I promise I won't tell anyone.


[ Parent ]
It really sucks by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #22 Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:53:49 AM EST
It really sucks knowing really cool things that I am not even allowed to tell other people in this damn company, much less those outside it.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
I bought a PS3 recently by spacejack (2.00 / 0) #2 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 10:04:58 AM EST
The first console I've bought in years. There were two reasons:
  1. Motorstorm
  2. Motorstorm Pacific Rift


Who would want to buy that? by theboz (2.00 / 0) #3 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 10:08:57 AM EST
Drop backwards compatibility, drop blu-ray, have a cheap hard drive...sounds like you're talking about the Playstation 2, which was very popular.

Seriously, the Wii won because of their novel approach to controlling games.  The PS3 has some of that same capability, but part of the problem (or so I've heard) is that it's too expensive and difficult to develop games for it.  In addition to that, what motivation would a game producer have for releasing an exclusive game for any system?  It's not like there are that many great games on the Xbox 360 that aren't on the PS3.

Here's my problem with this generation of consoles -- the games mostly suck (this includes the Wii.)  There are some great games for each one, but the cost and time to produce games for the Xbox 360 and the PS3, as well as the Wii being a Nintendo product (who are notoriously egotistical and treat third party developers like trash) means that it is difficult to produce a decent game for any of the systems.  That's why on the PS3 and Xbox 360 all the new games are basically just FPS with better graphics, and a few sports games that control like they always have.  Wii games are basically just old Gamecube and PS2 remakes, with a few crappy things thrown in by developers who put Wii games on the back burner because they can't figure out how to adapt to the new control scheme and Nintendo isn't helping them (e.g. Nintendo not telling the developer of the light saber duel game that they are coming out with a new piece of hardware to add on to the Wiimote that would allow them to make more realistic light-saber fighting due to more sensitive motion controls.)

So I'll probably just wait for the next generation and hope for the best.  The Xbox 720 and PS4 will probably have more Wii-like control schemes for some games.  I predict Microsoft will develop a control scheme that will somehow rival that of Metroid Prime 3 on the Wii (the best FPS control scheme ever designed.)  Sony will have an easier time as the Cell processor and their internet workings mature.  Nintendo will continue to botch what could be a terrific idea, and will be relegated to third place and say how great they are.

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That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
my response by dark ally (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:14:56 AM EST
'cept the PS2 didn't have a hard drive.  Maybe you're thinking of the original Xbox?

The Wii has won due to a lower sticker price and by marketting it as a fitness accessory to people who wouldn't otherwise buy a game console. 

Although the PS3 has very few exclusive games, the Xbox 360 has a significant number (especially if you count games available only on the Xbox 360 & PC).

The quality of the current generation games is a separate debate, but I will admit there are very few PS3/Wii titles on my Christmas list.


[ Parent ]
Girls dig it too by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #5 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:28:10 AM EST
the tweenage girls I know much prefer the Wii over a PS2.


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My response to your response by theboz (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:38:36 AM EST
'cept the PS2 didn't have a hard drive.  Maybe you're thinking of the original Xbox?
The PS2 hard drive was an add on.  I don't recall what all it was used for, other than PS2Linux and Final Fantasy.
The Wii has won due to a lower sticker price and by marketting it as a fitness accessory to people who wouldn't otherwise buy a game console. 
This is true, but they haven't really released games that make use of those things.  There was a lot of potential when it first came out, but most of us that own a Wii have resigned ourselves to waiting for the next generation of consoles before we really see a lot of fun uses for that type of control.  There are some excellent games for the Wii, but they're all made by Nintendo.  If you haven't played them, try Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, Excite Truck, and the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess to see some ways the Wii can be used.
Although the PS3 has very few exclusive games, the Xbox 360 has a significant number (especially if you count games available only on the Xbox 360 & PC).
There are more, but I don't think they really have any killer apps.  It's not like how the Playstation and PS2 were the only places you could go to play Final Fantasy games, and that no RPGs would come close.  Since I'm not a huge fan of FPS, I don't really see anything unique to the Xbox 360, since all three consoles have critically-acclaimed FPS games.  Halo is just about the only one at this point, isn't it?  Also, I admit that the new Katamari Damacy game on Xbox Live is tempting, but it's a small game that is very similar to the two I already own for the PS2.
The quality of the current generation games is a separate debate, but I will admit there are very few PS3/Wii titles on my Christmas list.
I was considering buying another console for Christmas so I could play a new game that interested me.  Unfortunately, nothing out there seems that interesting on any of the consoles.  Like I said, I'm not a fan of FPS games (they make me sick) and like RPGs, platform games, and fighting games primarily.  However, there haven't been any real advances in those genres over the past generation of games, and none of the consoles have decent RPGs out that I am aware of.  Despite having an HD television, more polygons and detail in a fighting game won't interest me as much as a new, novel thing like Mortal Kombat did with their fatalities when I was a kid.  I did like Super Smash Bros. Brawl because it was fun to have all those popular video game characters fighting each other, but had I played a previous Smash Bros. game it wouldn't have felt new to me.

Also, I don't feel that the quality of the games is all that seperate.  The NES hardware was a piece of shit, and we all knew it, but there were a lot of innovative games made for it (amid a sea of crap) that made it fun.  Without innovative, fresh games, we're just going to see yet another FPS with varied skins on the enemies and different cut scenes.  I doubt anyone can name a single extremely popular, truly innovative game (non first-party) that has come out in this generation for any of the three systems.  There are smaller ones that are available for download, and there are some interesting first party games, but nobody else is making anything great.  In fact, the boldest move I've seen is Mega Man 9.


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That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
I'd like to see by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:43:28 AM EST
something like wii boxing crossed with mortal kombat.. Assuming such a thing doesn't exist already..

[ Parent ]
I want to see Wii English Tutor by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #8 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:47:45 AM EST
Wii Pick Up Your Bedroom
and
Wii Choretime


[ Parent ]
Me too by theboz (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 12:29:57 PM EST
Supposedly they're going to come out with a new Punchout game next year, which would be cool, but not with fatalities.

One problem with the Wii is that it has been designated as just for kids, so you don't have a lot of violent stuff there, aside from Resident Evil, No More Heroes, etc.

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That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
Well ... by yicky yacky (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 02:23:05 PM EST

There are some excellent games for the Wii, but they're all made by Nintendo.

That's pretty much always been the case with Nintendo all the way back to the NES. They've always had fewer games and almost all their good stuff is in-house. Sounds like business as usual.


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
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I disagree on the NES and SNES by theboz (2.00 / 0) #16 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:06:46 PM EST
There were some great games for both that were not made by Nintendo.  Some examples are Chrono Trigger, the Contra series, the Castelvania series, and others just to name the ones that start with "C".

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That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
Little Big Planet! (nt) by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #12 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 02:29:34 PM EST

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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
Worth maybe $10 to me by theboz (2.00 / 0) #13 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 03:29:35 PM EST
It seems interesting, but the idea of selling a high level game-building engine doesn't seem as much of a killer app as it could be.  Plus, it's been done before.  I forget the name of it, but I used to have a game for building RPGs, and there have been level editors for games for years.  All that LBP does differently is that it the main point is that it is a level editor.

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That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
Games by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #15 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 04:27:47 PM EST
It's a fun social game.  The selling point isn't really the level editor.  It's having a stream of user-built levels to play online with friends/strangers.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
games galore, NOT by dark ally (2.00 / 0) #18 Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 03:37:40 AM EST
I have a Wii along with Mario Galaxy & Zelda.  My wife bought Wii Fit and my son has put Mario Kart on his Santa list.  I've got Little Big Planet for under the tree and I'm hoping Santa will bring me the Orange Box so I can play Portal.  I'd forgotten about World of Goo, I'll have to think about that one.

[ Parent ]
Agreed by theboz (2.00 / 0) #20 Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 04:23:58 AM EST
I will try out World of Goo, but that's not a major game that would take up a lot of time, I think.  I'd love to play something else like Super Mario Galaxy.  That took up a good amount of time, yet I could play it in small, fast chunks of time and it didn't require a lot of relearning and such if I put it down for a month.

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That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
it looks like WiiWare by dr k (2.00 / 0) #14 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 03:44:02 PM EST
is starting to take off. Of course I don't know how much support Nintendo is providing, esp. for the different controllers.

I hear World of Goo is worth the download.

:| :| :| :| :|

[ Parent ]
lol optical drives by herbert (4.00 / 2) #10 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 12:37:18 PM EST
Here's an idea - they should put the internet on these things, then you could download games and stop messing about with silly plastic discs.

digital download will never replace physical media by dark ally (4.00 / 1) #24 Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 08:59:20 AM EST

I don't believe digital downloads will ever fully replace physical media (this includes games, music, movies and books).  As widespread as highspeed internet access has become, I don't think it will ever reach 100% penetration.  So there will always be a market for physical media for games playable offline.

Then there's the old adage: "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a stationwagon full of magtape."  That digital download will never be instantaneous (it took longer for me to download and install the MSG4 demo than it would have taken to drive to the mall and back), and that local storage will eventually fill, meaning you'll have to re-download something instead of just taking the disc off the shelf.

There's also resale and rental markets for physical media which don't exist for downloads.  Not to mention the physical media can be easily moved to a second or new player.

I'm not opposed to digital downloads - I've bought several games from the Playstation Store.  But all things being equal, I'll buy the plastic disc.

 



[ Parent ]
Maybe not fully by herbert (2.00 / 0) #25 Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:45:17 PM EST
But as the default mass market option.  Certainly for music and movies, eventually for books.  (What percentage of music is already downloaded, if you include piracy?)

Games might be the best candidate for continuing to be big enough to outstrip download speeds.  Although for most games it ought to be possible to make them streamable enough that you aren't waiting too long to start playing level one while level two is downloading.

I've got no idea how console makers think about this - but I would have thought they'd be looking at network-only models at least alongside others.  They save a few dollars on the drive and more importantly lock up the retail (like Apple).

[ Parent ]
$300 - $200 with a DVD drive and a 1GB SSD? by Imperial Mince (2.00 / 0) #17 Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:29:29 PM EST
That would be amazingly fail. You're supposed to be talking about next generation. Do you know the best thing about the NXE? Not having to listen to my dvd drive rape itself trying to get assets of the drive fast enough. You've just taken the only thing the PS3 had going for it out the equation, well done. I expect the job offer is already on its way. What you're describing is a wii with a different badge on it.  And the wii is just a fucking game cube in a different case.

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This space reserved for whining like a little bitch and being sanctimonious.
games versus capabilities by dark ally (2.00 / 0) #23 Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 08:00:26 AM EST
I'm making the assumption PS3 games (except for maybe MSG4) don't require the extra capacity of Blu-Ray over DVD.  Therefore having a Blu-Ray drive is not a requirement to actually play games.

If the goal of a game console is to
1. be purchased (so a low retail price is a good target)
2. sell lots of games (to make profit via licensing)
3. minimize cost of manufacturing (to maximize profit or minimize loss versus the retail price)
then discarding anything which doesn't further those goals is worth considering.  Microsoft and espeically Nintendo understand this idea, Sony needs to re-learn it.

Sony included a Blu-Ray drive in the PS3 to increase Blu-Ray market penetration.  That worked - HD-DVD is no more.  But now the PS3 isn't a "cheap" Blu-Ray player, it's an expensive console.  The need for Sony to include Blu-Ray in their console isn't there anymore, so make it an extra cost option.

I'm also puzzled by your NXE comment, which seems to suggest a digital download model which doesn't require a Blu-Ray drive either.  Yes, it does require disk space.  But since MS only includes 256MB in their base model, I figure 1GB is sufficient.

And the Wii may be a super GameCube, but it has sales & profit numbers Sony would kill for.


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Oh, I wasn't clear then, I'm with herbert by Imperial Mince (2.00 / 0) #26 Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 12:10:13 AM EST
Optical is dead, even if stuff ships on it, that's something the PS3 has almost right, the copying it to the harddisk. Like your argument about the backup tapes with herbert: A harddrive full of games is better than a shelf full of discs. It doesn't matter how they get on the harddrive, or whether the hard drive is magnetic or flash, but that's where we'll be playing games from. Optical media don't have the bandwidth.
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This space reserved for whining like a little bitch and being sanctimonious.
[ Parent ]
PS4 musing, part 1 | 26 comments (26 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback